Northwest Passage: You ain’t hungry enough yet.


Here is the movie version:

And here is book version:

….the seventh, too, I remember, because when, at night, I returned from filling canteens with water, I saw Crofton kneeling in a singular dog-like posture. When I came quietly up behind him, I saw he had drawn something large and round from his knapsack, and was gnawing at it-gnawing and pulling, as a dog wrenches at the gristle on a bone. “For Gods sake, what’s that?” I asked.

Crofton gave the thing a quick push into his knapsack and rubbed his mouth with the back of his hand. His push had been too hurried, and the thing rolled out again, like something alive, creeping out to look around. It was a head – an Indians head.

I can’t recall what I said, but Crofton came close to me – so close that I backed away and wanted to run. “It’s mine,” he whispered. “No harm taking what’s mine, seeing what they did to my brother!” He laughed with the bubbling sound that a horned owl makes when it holds a rabbit in its claws. Yet it struck me at the time that his argument was reasonable. Perhaps my mind was strange because of a month of insufficient, uncooked food – of daily forced marches and wet clothes – of never knowing when the French and Indians might come up with us. At all events, it seemed to me that if Crofton’s brother had been horribly killed by Indians, he too had every right to kill Indians horribly and do what he pleased with those he killed. Not until later did I realize that war robs us of our reasoning powers, so that we think and believe strange things.

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You get a very different impression of the actual story from the movie interpretation. The book offers a much more realistic view true to human nature. The movie forced a lot of behaviors that seemed to out of touch with psychology to me.

Book was written 1937 and movie made in 1940.

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Also, here are some favorite passages from the book:

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Twitter: @Acumagnet

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